Typhoon Touch Technologies v. Dell
|“|| The usage "algorithm" in computer systems has broad meaning, for it encompasses "in essence a series of instructions for the computer to follow," In re Waldbaum, 457 F.2d 997, 998, 59 C.C.P.A. 940 (CCPA 1972), whether in mathematical formula, or a word description of the procedure to be implemented by a suitably programmed computer. The definition in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (1976) is quoted in In re Freeman, 573 F.2d 1237, 1245 (CCPA 1978): "a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end." In Freeman the court referred to "the term 'algorithm' as a term of art in its broad sense, i.e., to identify a step-by-step procedure for accomplishing a given result." The court observed that "[t]he preferred definition of 'algorithm' in the computer art is: 'A fixed step-by-step procedure for accomplishing a given result; usually a simplified procedure for solving a complex problem, also a full statement of a finite number of steps.' C. Sippl & C. Sippl, Computer Dictionary and Handbook (1972)." Id. at 1246.
Precedent and practice permit a patentee to express that procedural algorithm "in any understandable terms including as a mathematical formula, in prose, or as a flow chart, or in any other manner that provides sufficient structure." Finisar, 523 F.3d at 1340. In Finisar the court explained that the patent need only disclose sufficient structure for a person of skill in the field to provide an operative software program for the specified function. Id. "The amount of detail required to be included in claims depends on the particular invention and the prior art." Shatterproof Glass Corp. v. Libbey-Owens Ford Co., 758 F.2d 613, 624 (Fed. Cir. 1985). In turn, the amount of detail that must be included in the specification depends on the subject matter that is described and its role in the invention as a whole, in view of the existing knowledge in the field of the invention.
Typhoon Touch Techs., Inc. v. Dell, Inc., 659 F.3d 1376, 1384-85 (Fed. Cir. 2011).